Joseph Farina

Joseph Farina


Blood and Honour


He takes his breakfast continental

his cafe lungo in the morning

stretto in the afternoon

tries to read Italian papers

fancies himself cavalieri

in this age of dishonour

retells his nipoti how his

great nonno wore a red bandana

and marched with the liberator

until betrayed

small recollections of a fabled past

of hunger, hardship and family

that become bright scenes

like the brilliant ceramics

on his walls and tables

reminding him daily of

his ancient roots and the honour

of blood oaths unfulfilled.


Songs My Mother Sang Me


Staring at my fruitless fig

on the hot piazza’s faux cobbles

I begin to hum inexplicably scicarredu

the old Sicilian ode to a donkey

a song my mother sang

to both myself and brother

as she waited

in the long mornings and afternoons

until my father finished his foundry shift.

A mournful tune recalling an agrarian past

no longer hers to hold then

and I in its present dirge

without her voice, only my memory

of her memory to mourn


Food Not flowers


In the spring thawed ground

my father always planted foods

never daffodils or tulips.

The colour green,red and black

were the constant theme

green beans, rabba, zucchini, peppers

red tomatoes, San marzano and heirloom

black Sicilian melenzani

The colours of his Sicilian zappaturi past

red for the blood of his family

black for the mourning of departures

green for life to continue and grow

flowers were for songs

and the landed idle rich

whose tables were never bare

not for men with families to care.



Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Several of his poems have been published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, Ascent  and in The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue, and appears in the anthology Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent. He has had poems published in the U.S.A magazines  Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques , Fiele-Festa and Memoir(and). He has had two books of poetry published — The Cancer Chronicles and  The Ghosts of Water Street.